How to Practically Implement Microservices Infrastructure in Your Business
This article includes a tutorial for implementing Microservices infrastructure in your business — including using monolithic architecture.
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The hyper-dynamic approach to business has led to the development of cloud computing in the form of IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS, with our current buzzword Microservices being aggressively sought for implementation. Notably, tech giants like Google, Walmart, and Amazon using it have grabbed the attention of the masses who look forward to revolutionizing their business processes with a modular approach.
You may also like: Deploying Your Microservices
Monolithic Architecture to Understand the Reasons Behind the Dawn of Microservices Architecture
A monolithic software has a singular approach to the entire architecture, and the addition of layers separates one application from others. They are simple to understand conceptually, and development cycles tend to be widely recognized by the tech community across the globe, but they exhibit meager scalability.
They have multiple constraints such as resource availability, longer deployment cycles, non-confirmation to continuous delivery, using single coding technology for all applications, and malfunctioning of a single application being reflected on the entire software.
Hence, businesses are looking forward to a modular and dynamic approach to address these concerns since they affect business processes tremendously. Let us start with the basics:
As per Adrian Cockcroft, Battery Ventures,
“Microservices is loosely coupled service-oriented architecture with bounded contexts.”
The modularity of these loosely coupled services is based on application-driven needs. The source codes for all the services are different, and they can be scaled and applied to changes independently. It uses APIs to communicate the data and functionalities of one service with another as the output of one application becomes the input for the other. It also helps in the simplification of security monitoring since each part is isolated from the others. If one of the needs of the service AI, it is developed in Python, but it doesn’t require entire software to use the same technology.
We Can Understand the Difference Between the Two With the Following Example of Statutes
The Monolithic Architecture resembles statues built by carving stones like the ones in Greek sculptures, while with Microservices approach is similar to using Lego blocks to do the same job. If your stone sculpture is damaged partially, you have to scrap the whole statue while you can always replace the Lego blocks and tweak your artifact on will.
The critical factor to be kept in mind for implementing it is to balance speed and safety, much like the term Risk-Adjusted Return (RAR) used in financial instruments. High scalability and modular approach when clubbed with deployment-redeployment cycles create a high amount of complications.
The post-implementation phases depend much on how the microservices architecture was designed and the method of implementation. This can be quickly done by creating a ‘central key deliverable’ around which all services are designed.
Insights: As per Red Hat, the top four challenges faced by organizations while implementing microservices are corporate culture, microservices management, diagnostics, and monitoring, along with time and resources.
Let Us Have a Look at the Step by Step Implementation Model
Stage 1: Focusing on Agility and Responsiveness
As in the case of the online streaming service Netflix, the need to provide on-demand service is extremely important as it is the USP for the premium experience it promises. The delivery cycles need to be drastically shorter with a higher frequency to provide continuous delivery of services; however, the emphasis shall be laid on the distributed nature of resources’ requirement as one application may need resources more frequently than the rest. Therefore, the core business competencies are instrumental driving factors to design the core software development philosophy with which each individual application should resonate.
To understand better, it considers that your company needs to work in an environment with fluctuating demand of resources, so it will be a good idea to develop a resource utilization method similar to stepping stones where the resources such as servers are generated in small steps as per demand.
The server capacity can be distributed in smaller compartments of five users, and the addition of the sixth user will create the resources for the next five users. Similarly, the reduction in utilization will also be reflected in the reduced use of resources, which helps in rapid scalability.
Stage 2: Managing Security and Individual Source Code Maturity
The replaceability of individual applications and independent manageability are the two most substantial requirements for a business willing to use a microservices architecture. Still, they shall not overcompensate the security of the business processes. For instance, a BFSI sector company can afford a bit slower process for monetary transactions. Still, it cannot overlook any security risks since the reliability of the system is at the center of the SRS and CONOPS documents.
This is because the risk in the case of clients in the form of business entities is very high such as small mistakes in integration with web-based payroll software for disbursement can cost way more than erroneous transactions of retail clients. You shall devise services based on the nature of your business, specifically for successful implementation.
The iterative nature of this architecture will profess the need for standardizing the maturity levels of individual source codes for each service to serve the phase-specific goals and solutions provided by the service. Failing to do so results in complicating the prospectus of future application of services since the goals of architecture (speed/safety) are relative to both the scalable, holistic collective output of the system and the implementation phase. Hence the changes in the source code of one service need to be in line with the overall maturity of the source codes of the system as a whole unit to reduce long-term risks associated with lack of synchronization.
Stage 3: Ensure Long Term Scalability of Operations on Both Solution-Specific and System-Oriented Goals
The cost of rework post-implementation is very high, and therefore, the system design shall keep into account the future volumes. A lot of businesses have experienced time and again in many other cases. The scope of business in terms of revenue and amount of the resources required to execute the functions with value additions needed in the future is to be considered so that the end result produced is compatible with changes with minimum friction.
One of the significant mistakes made is not to align the solution-specific design of the service with the future expansion drives, third-party software integration compatibility, redeployment cycles of concerned services, fluctuations in utilization volume, and cost of operation.
Insights: The use of API Gateways can help contextual communication based on public protocols and internal system protocols without affecting the number of client requests/roundtrips. (Netflix API Gateway).
On the other hand, the complexity of the system shall be at the bare minimum level before the implementation is made so that the turbulence doesn’t affect the operations. If the organization is involved as a mediator/broker in cargo services for individual truck drivers, though banking integration may not be on the cards immediately, the system design shall keep this in the account even while building APIs. Investing at the initial stages is one of the most significant cost-cutting measures in the long term owing to predictive modeling of the system architecture.
Stage 4: Balancing the Services as a Group and Keeping Them Intact as Individual Solutions
The entire cluster is formed by developing small services that are focused on providing a solution independently. The solution shall be bounded by a single service and produce a single output. Also, the API design is done in such a manner that the collective data exposure from one service to another service is done seamlessly.
The granularity of individual services shall not affect the microservices system behavior adversely. This is done by clearly defining the scope of each service and the coordination of all the services amongst each other.
In the case of Walmart Labs, as described in Baseline, they were making as high as 30,000 changes a month with only 3000 engineers using OneOps. The open API economy is reducing the difficulties in entering newer business horizons and expanding the competitiveness of the organization in diverse areas. They also include aspects that aren’t a part of the traditional business model for the companies.
Stage 5: Harnessing the Suitable Processes, Tools, and Organizational Structure
The companies need to understand that the success of implementing microservices is also dependent on the processes used to drive the management of the system. The traditional model of the hierarchy cannot be relevant in this case since it is imperative to ensure that the employees are owners of their particular microservices on an independent basis, similar to full-stack developers.
They shall be able to manage their services as products, which include designing, coding, UI development, quality assurance, and troubleshooting along with executing patches and debugging without any dependency.
The tools such as DevOps ensure that the single points of failure (SPOFs) do not affect all the services by continuous integration and delivery. This is observed in increased the use of containerization with platforms like Docker instead of virtual machines.
This increases the ROI, improves standardization along leveraging from the container image (CI) efficiency. Hence the cumulative savings are one of the best offerings apart from the technical edges over the conventional approach.
Stage 6: Holistic Approaches to the Deployment of the Entire System as per the Business Objectives
Three approaches are widely used for the implementation process. The first one developed by Martin Flower is known as the strangler method (also called the Ice Cream Scoop Strategy), which is a highly effective approach for transitioning to microservices infrastructure in the business of any nature provided that they can slog for more extended periods.
You can refer to Paul Hammant’s case studies for a better understanding. The exact opposite approach is to do the Rambo- Nuclear option, which is to start afresh. Building the entire system on an end-to-end basis will be long, challenging, and require meticulous attention to design as the whole to the deployment process.
The Lego strategy is also one of the most attractive ones for the organizations which plan to transform partially who want to keep the monolith structure intact for some of the parts and use the microservices architecture for other applications.
Using it for newer features is a smart strategy as it is not financially beneficial to entirely scrap the existing system as it shall be technically relevant. This will reduce the cost initially, but the APIs need to be developed as per the existing monolith’s shortcomings adding to the tech debt.
Stage 7: Managing the Organizational Aspects of Migration and Streamlining the Transformation Process
The approach of leadership in the entire implementation process, along with the culture within the company, plays a pivotal role, and it also happens to be one of the intricate parameters which are nebulous in all the cases. This has to be managed by using an adaptive approach and competency-oriented management. Also, the enterprises shall consider the market’s volatility that pushes for frequent changes as a part of the culture within the organization.
This requires having a broad outlook on the evaluation of current and future needs to devise a more comprehensive action plan. Streamlining the end results will be the only method since we cannot develop a full-proof product before the actual deployment conditions arise. Hence taking stakeholders in confidence and proactive nurturing of internal working mechanisms are essential for successful implementation.
What Drives the Implementation of Microservices Architecture: The Author’s Retrospective Note
The team at Verizon was able to bring the 30-day data center deploys to a mere 8 hours by using Microservices. Their focus on architecture to facilitate automation and extensibility helped them in the successful implementation. The entire process depends upon the broader vision for business objectives, functions, competitive advantages, and cost-effectiveness shall be at the core of the organization willing to use this architecture.
It will also require you to radically change the operational aspects of your company since the older methods will hold little relevance in productivity. Striking a balance between functional requirements and systematic risks to provide a seamless user experience will be an existential part of implementing a microservices infrastructure.
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